It seems reverse psychology really does work over the Easter period, as researchers find that children eat fewer chocolate eggs during the Easter holidays if parents let them decide how many they can have.
A team at the University of Surrey are presenting their findings at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference.
The study looked at 37 children aged between four and 11 years old. One group was given specific instructions on how many eggs the child could eat - eggs were kept in a cupboard out of reach, only allowed to eat after meals and only in small amounts.
Meanwhile, the other group were asked to allow their child to have access to the Easter eggs whenever they wanted to eat and as much as the child like each time.
The results showed that the children from the non-restricted group ate more eggs to begin with but by the end of the Easter holiday they had eaten less overall than the restricted group.
Lead researcher Saima Ehsan said: “These results suggest that parents restricting a particular food results in it becoming more attractive and increasing the overall intake.
“This could mean that allowing children more control over their eating habits is more effective at developing long term healthier eating patterns.”